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ROUNDUP OF LOCAL GOVERNMENT NEWS IN THE NATIONAL NEWSPAPERS

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LGA CHIEF SETS OUT CHALLENGES FOR COUNCILS...
LGA CHIEF SETS OUT CHALLENGES FOR COUNCILS

Local authorities need to 'stop asking Whitehall questions' if they want to avoid central guidance which is intrusive and unhelpful, says LGA chief executive Paul Cohen in an interview in The Times' Public Agenda section (pg5).

Mr Cohen calls for devolution to be matched with a 'vibrant local taxation system' directly associated with the work of a council. He also hopes local area agreements will be strengthened within the next year. He says local government's challenge is to 'put the citizen and customer at the heart of our work'.

Cohen interview here

UNCOLLECTED COUNCIL TAX TOPS£700M

In the last financial year local authorities failed to collect£738m in council tax, reports The Times (pg4).

The figures were collated for the GMB union and show Birmingham City Council was owed the most tax of£14.8m.

Full details here

CoE SCHOOLS MUST GIVE A QUARTER OF PLACES TO NON-BELIEVERS

At least 25 per cent of places at all new Church of England schools must be set aside for non-religious pupils, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg2).

Roman Catholic schools will also need to prove in the future that their intakes reflect their local communities.

Both churches committed to the changes yesterday, which stem from the government's new admissions code going through parliament.

DfES CHURCH SCHOOLS IN 'INCLUSIVE' VOW

INDEPENDENT HEADS CALL FOR 'SERIOUS MONEY' FOR PARTNERSHIPS WITH STATE SCHOOLS

Private headteachers are calling on the government to commit more money to Independent State School Partnership schemes, reports the Financial Timers (pg5).

Andrew Boggis, chair of an umbrella group of independent schools, said 'serious money' was lacking for private schools to share facilities and specialist subject teachers with state schools. The government should pay independent schools the 'full market rate' for services that helped raise standards in state schools.

The Times (p29) also reports that Mr Boggis was concerned about ministers trying to 'hijack' the brand of independent schools on the cheap, and that parents of fee-paying pupils should not be expected to subsidise partnership schemes.

TORIES PLEDGE TO PUT CHILDREN AT HEART OF POLICIES

The Conservatives will put the 'right to a childhood' at the centre of their vision for public services, reports The Daily Telegraph (pg9).

Shadow education secretary David Willetts and shadow health secretary Andrew Lansley made the pledge to their party's annual conference yesterday, and suggested money spent on regulation and bureaucratic control could be freed up to provide targeted help for children. They also criticised the introduction of the national computer register of all children, which could lead to 'barcoded babies'.

COUNCIL'S RED FACE OVER NEWLY PAINTED YELLOW LINES

Salford City Council has withdrawn a parking ticket issued after double yellow lines were painted around a parked car, reports The Guardian (pg11).

The driver is now seeking£550 in costs for new tyres after alleged damage caused by the line painting machine.

CAMERON'S WINDMILL MAY NOT GET OFF THE GROUND

David Cameron's green credentials may be thwarted by security concerns, according to a Conservative party conference diary in The Independent (pg6).

The party leader has privately admitted that after overcoming planning objections to put a windmill on top of his home, he believes police will advise him against it, on security grounds.

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